Monday, January 22, 2007

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A post in which I suck up to my employers

The Financial Times' Rebecca Knight has a story on the Fletcher School and why it's better than sliced bread:

It may not have been on purpose, but the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy – the oldest graduate school of international relations in the US – has suddenly found itself in the executive education business.

Last year, Microsoft and Raytheon, as well as a non-profit group, approached the school, at Tufts University in Massachusetts, to develop customised programmes for their mid- to upper-level professionals.

The programmes, which involved courses on international political and economic affairs, were a big hit. This year, Fletcher has three repeat customers on its hands and is “quietly and cautiously” working to attract others, according to school officials.

Executive education programmes – which have in the past been the domain of business schools – are typically marketed to companies as a way to hone their workers’ skills with courses in finance, marketing, and sales. But, according to Stephen Bosworth, the dean of Fletcher, companies nowadays are in search of more than management refresher courses. Rather, they are looking for ways to boost their executives’ knowledge of international politics, culture and business.

Fletcher’s programmes are ideal for those companies seeking to “upgrade the globalisation skills” of key employees, says Mr Bosworth. “The rationale for all of this is the perceived need for a greater understanding of the political, economic, and cultural context within which these companies are operating,” he says.

The programmes, which are conducted by Fletcher and Tufts faculty, are individually tailored, depending on their varying needs and specifications of the companies.

For instance, Microsoft asked for a distillation of the school’s overall international curriculum, while Raytheon, the military contractor, requested a programme on political, economic and cultural issues for operating in the Middle East.

Deborah Nutter, senior associate dean and professor at Fletcher, says the school’s strength in diplomatic training is what gives it the edge in the executive education realm.

“From the beginning, we have educated global leaders in all sectors,” she says.

Note to self: put "educated global leader" somewhere on cv. [Since you have made exactly zero contribution to these programs, is that justified?--ed. Hey, all's fair in love and resumes.]

UPDATE: More good financial news for Tufts.

posted by Dan on 01.22.07 at 03:47 PM


"Educating global leaders." Sure.

What they fail to mention is the real reason why every major American university is getting into "executive education" and spawning masters programs in every imaginable field (and some you would never imagine):


posted by: anonymous on 01.22.07 at 03:47 PM [permalink]

What's so bad about $$$$$? It's not like Raytheon and MS are asking Fletcher to change what they teach or to skew their research. Of course, if the bloated plutocrats were asking for that, I suppose Dan wouldn't be likely to tell us about it here....

While I might have entertained philosophical objections to such programs as a naive young grad student, as an assistant prof who'd really like some decent furniture and a better car, my only complaint is that I'm not on the gravy train myself.

posted by: AnIRprof on 01.22.07 at 03:47 PM [permalink]

There's nothing so bad about $$$$$$$. I'm on the gravy train at my institution and happy to be there. What's bad is being disingenuous about why you are doing this. Fletcher would have no interest in "educating global leaders" through these types of programs if they didn't bring in oodles of cash.

posted by: anonymous on 01.22.07 at 03:47 PM [permalink]

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